By Joanna Bastian
During a week like this, some of us completely lose our appetites, but we still have the gumption to prepare food and feed people.
At a recent community meeting at Alta Lake, some people wanted to bring bulldozers, while Sue DePriest and Kathie Oberg brought freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. The bulldozers were turned away, but the cookies received a warm welcome.
Last Saturday, Denise Steffens heard Don Ashford on K-Root announce that there would be food at the community meeting in Methow that evening. She figured she better get cracking, since no one had made refreshment plans. Denise worked her magic and produced a warm cranberry bread and a platter of crispy kale chips that were quickly devoured by a hungry crowd.
The Methow meeting began with a round of appreciative applause for the local postal clerk who wishes not to be named. It was fortuitous chance that the clerk was at the Pateros post office when the mail arrived. Upon learning that the mail would not be delivered up valley, a phone call to the postmaster released the first-class Methow mail into the clerk’s capable hands for Methow delivery. Methowites were appreciative of both the mail, and her cranberry bread and savory kale chips.
After the amicable and informative meeting, Methowite Eric Zahn expressed his appreciation for everyone driving safely during the recent evacuations. The only road currently open in and out of the valley runs right through the heart of Methow, and Eric says thank you for “not driving like ______.” Rhymes with “grass toes.”
These last few days, plans change as quickly as the winds. Twispites April Wertz and Samantha Carlin were relaxing in my living room Friday morning as we deliberated over where to go for breakfast. A detailed strategy that included a drive down to Pateros Rivers Restaurant was conceived. The plan was approved with April’s famous finger snap, “That’s the plan!”
At that precise moment a fierce wind howled against the house. Huffing and puffing, it threatened to blow the house down. Our bodies stiffened. Our eyeballs flickered toward the windows and back to each other as we mentally calculated the risk of road closures in a blast so strong it could take down trees and power lines, and move fire. A mutual agreement was made to stay put and raid the pantry. Soon there were biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, and Hank’s breakfast sausage … which was wordlessly just shoved around our plates, as our appetites had seem to have left with the wind.
Last Wednesday afternoon, I stood on my porch, reading updates on the newly ignited fire along Twisp River Road. One word stood out before tears blurred the rest of the message. “Entrapment.”
Overhead it was a clear blue sky. A gentle breeze set the wind chimes in motion, the melody floated over the creek and up the mountainside. When tragedy happens, a peaceful moment feels like blasphemy.
In old stories, myths and legends, a certain plot line reoccurs. A man digs a hole in a meadow and whispers a story into the dirt. A grove of aspens, or a bed of reeds sprout from the meadow and whisper the story every time a breeze passes through.
Perhaps the winds that moved the chimes on Wednesday were three men passing from one world to the next, whispering their stories along the cold creeks and rugged mountains. Each one of them was a force of nature in this world. God speed, men.